With next Tuesday’s primary just around the corner, political talk is dominating water cooler — and Twitter — chatter around the country. But regardless of who’s in office, legislators need to hear the voices of Indiana’s business community.
“The Indiana Chamber’s Washington D.C. Fly-In is a great way to gather information about pending legislation and regulations that are relevant to businesses in Indiana. It also provides an excellent opportunity to meet with Indiana’s Congressional Delegation and discuss a variety of current issues. I consider the Fly-In to be one of the most important ways that we make our voices heard in Washington.” – Tom Easterday, Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.
“Employers large and small who participate in the Fly-In put a face on the challenges impacting Indiana businesses and make a very real difference. No other organization brings such a diverse group of highly respected business leaders together, from across our state, to engage elected officials on the key issues impacting our ability to create jobs.” – Tom Hirons, President & CEO, Hirons & Company Communications Inc.
“The Indiana Chamber of Commerce DC Fly-in offers a once a year opportunity for Indiana Business Leaders to hear from and speak one on one to all the members of Indiana’s Congressional Delegation… Lugar, Coats, Pence, Visclosky, Pence, Donnelly…All the Democrats and Republicans representing our State’s interest on Capitol Hill. This Congressional access is not available anywhere else to Hoosier business leaders. Plus, the event offers the opportunity to network with other like-minded Chamber members to collaborate to make certain our message is heard AND acted upon. Members of Congress are often more responsive to ‘live’ business leaders that make the effort to come see them than the career lobbyists that they more often hear from.”, David Wulf – VP, Administration, Templeton Coal Company
Recently, the governor’s Interagency Task Force on Health Care Reform conducted three separate forums: one each for employers, health providers and health insurers. Each industry was given the opportunity to provide comments about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the insurance exchange (the mandated entity at the state level that will market health care products and determine eligibility). While the administration was looking specifically for information to assist it in its decision-making process regarding the exchange, the forums also allowed each industry to vent about its frustrations with PPACA.
The Indiana Chamber commented on the impact on health insurance premiums due to no lifetime limits and coverage of children up to age 26. Further concerns were made known about the ability (or lack thereof) to maintain grandfathered status on existing health plans, the possibility of employers “dumping” employees into the exchange and the significant cost concerns related to the new enrollees in the Medicaid program under PPACA. David Wulf, chairman of the Chamber’s Health Care Policy Committee, provided his perspective as vice president of administration at Templeton Coal Company, specifically sharing his concerns about PPACA.
Since then, the Chamber has had ongoing discussions about the exchange and has been asked by the Department of Insurance to look into the idea of a defined contribution plan within the exchange. Utah created the first defined contribution plan that allows employers to contribute a dollar amount to an employee that purchases insurance through the exchange. Eventually, the employee would be able to combine federal subsidies, employer contributions and spousal employer contributions to purchase an individual policy based upon a group rate through the exchange. Several states are looking into the idea and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is in support of the program.